Suspect in Golden State Killings Reaches Plea Deal

DeAngelo would avoid death penalty, wouldn't have to stand trial
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2020 5:02 PM CDT
Plea Deal to Let DeAngelo Avoid Trial in Golden State Killings
Joseph James DeAngelo appears in Sacramento County Superior Court in Sacramento in March.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. has agreed to plead guilty to 13 murder and rape charges this month, avoiding any chance of receiving the death penalty or a trial. The 74-year-old is accused of being the Golden State Killer, who committed 12 slayings and at least 45 rapes throughout California in the 1970s and '80s. DeAngelo, a former police officer who was arrested in 2018, is scheduled to enter the pleas June 29 in Sacramento County, the Los Angeles Times reports. DeAngelo also has agreed to admit committing crimes for which he isn't charged and in cases where the statute of limitations has run out; a Times investigation found that more than 106 victims were bound, tortured, raped, or killed. California has placed a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty.

Some victims and their family members are not pleased by the plea deal, per the Times. "I already know he raped me, that he was guilty," says one woman who was raped at 15 and hoped to see DeAngelo stand trial, after waiting decades for a defendant to face justice. "What is it that he doesn’t want to be known?" A woman whose father was slain said of the plea deal says: "It's pragmatic. This makes sense. It is efficient." But she wanted him to answer in court. "So what is justice for that?" she asks. "I'm sitting with that every damn day." A supervising public defender says, "We feel this is a just resolution of this case and that the resolution provides some finality and closure for the victims," per the Sacramento Bee. Victims remain frustrated that DeAngelo remained free for so many years. "Somebody needs to be held accountable," one says. (Read more Joseph DeAngelo stories.)

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